Gear Review: Winter Warm Wear

Gear Review: Winter Warm Wear

Winter Warm Wear


Written for Washington Trails magazine


Visit the published article here


Just because the days are shorter and the temperature plummets doesn’t mean you need to hole up and hibernate through winter. Just bundle up and get outside.

Some of the latest offerings in winter outerwear will keep you warm and cozy on your favorite snowy trails, from casual snowshoe strolls to more challenging winter hikes—and even zipping down the ski slopes.

Big Agnes Pyramid DownTek Jacket

For the ultimate in trail warmth, look no further than the women’s Pyramid Jacket. (Sorry guys, this one is for the ladies.) Its ultra-warmth comes from 850-fill hydrophobic down under a wind- and water-resistant shell specially designed to keep insulation in place. Our tester especially liked the flattering trail-to-town style (though trim, so perhaps size up) and pretty color options. W $400

Columbia 890 TurboDown Jacket

For reliable warmth both dry and wet, this model outshined all the competition. This is thanks to its combination of Omni-Heat and hydrophobic down insulation, in addition to its heat-reflective inner liner. The TurboDown took top marks with our tester, including bonus points for its flattering fit (women’s)—something not generally associated with puffy jackets. M/W $325

SmartWool PhD SmartLoft Hoody

Here’s what you get when you cross a puffy jacket with activewear: an insulated shell for perfect temperature regulation during high-output activities. Under the wind- and water-repellent shell is a layer of wool insulation that keeps you warm and purring, even when wet. And the unique, form-fitting design puts more insulation where you need it most and less where you don’t. W $240

ColdPruf Premium Performance Crew

Lightweight and comfortable, this poly-spandex baselayer was a top pick for keeping our tester dry during high-output activities. Flatlock seams ensure there’s no rubbing under pack straps, and extra length keeps it tucked in. M/W $26

Ibex Zepher Earflap Beanie

Soft and comfy, this merino wool beanie keeps the head—and ears—toasty warm without being overly bulky. And it’s so compact and light (1.1 ounces!) you can easily stash it in a pocket when you, or the days, warm up. $40

SmartWool NTS Mid 250 Gloves

The most useful gloves we tested, these were perfect for warmth on their own or when used as a liner under heavier winter gauntlets. Finger pads on the thumb and index finger let you use your touch-screen tech without taking them off. $35

Lorpen Midweight Hiker Socks

Just as good in winter as they are in summer, these full-cushion merino wool socks incorporate a mesh instep for added temperature control and breathability. Plus, the flat-knit toe seam eliminates rubbing and irritation when active. $20

Heat for the Feet

ThermaCELL Heated Insoles are the only insoles on the market with removable, rechargeable batteries and remote control operation. The insoles have three temperature settings that are perfect for adding warmth when you need it: turn it up on the chairlift or eating lunch at the summit; turn it down when hiking, skiing or snowshoeing. It’s as easy as pressing the button on the included fob. If chronically frozen feet keep you from enjoying the winter outdoors, this may be your solution. We gave them a try and they were awesome. $130–$180

Keep the Wings Warm

Sometimes you want a little extra without needing to take along a lot of extra. Pavepara Arm Warmers are a lightweight addition to the winter wardrobe that you’ll love: a no-pinch cuff that stays in place, thumbholes for warmth while wearing gloves and, of course, easy on and off. We especially liked the flexibility they offered during high-intensity activities that let us turn a short-sleeve shirt into a long-sleeve shirt—without having to carry an extra shirt. $40

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